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Gouges, how do they work?

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Duiker

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It doesn't seem to matter how gentle I try to use the bowl gouges they always dig in badly and destroy the work (twice pulling the piece out of the chuck and throwing it across the workshop). :shock:
I've tried to use the ring tools too (supposedly don't dig in) with much the same results. The only gouge that seems less "brutal" is one my late father ground for himself (left handed).
This leads me to believe that I am presenting the cutting edges badly.

I have turned some really pretty bowls so far but have done so entirely with scrapers (box, undercut and roundnose). These turn decent work but take an age to hollow out anything.

Can anyone give me a few pointers on using gouges so that I don't create ballistic missiles? :oops:

Cheers,

Mick
 

Argee

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Mick,

The very best way to understand is to see one in action, but I'll try to give you a basic idea. I'm referring to a bowl gouge here, NOT a roughing gouge. The difference is that a roughing gouge is ground straight across and has "right-angled corners," whereas a bowl gouge has more of a nose, usually with the sides sloping back slightly (depending on original grind or preference). The problem you're having sounds like it could be caused by the trailing corner contacting the work.

When you look at your bowl gouge from above, with the flute (inside of hollow shaft section) uppermost, you'll see the cutting edge at the business end. Turn the gouge over to see that the bevel (the sloping section directly below the cutting edge) is angled - this angle varies quite widely, but all that matters for now is that you identify it.

With your workpiece mounted, position the toolrest slightly below centre and parellel to the face of the bowl, quite close to the workpiece without fouling it.

With the lathe OFF, place the underside of the gouge on the toolrest and lower the handle until you can get the bevel flat on the wood, around one third of the diameter of the workpiece in from the front. Keep the gouge in contact, then gently turn the workpiece BY HAND and you should NOT get a shaving, as only the bevel is in contact.

Now, with the workpiece stationary, rotate the gouge slightly to the right (clockwise), examining the bevel whilst you do so. Note how the attitude of the gouge now needs to be altered slightly to keep the bevel in contact, because a different part of the cutting edge is now "in play." Again, turn the workpiece gently BY HAND and continue to lift/rotate the gouge until you JUST begin to take a shaving. That is the cutting edge working in a bevel-supported cut.

The gouge can be used in this way quite effectively and you will find that you'll need to rotate it quite a way over onto its side in order to keep the cutting edge supported by the bevel as you get deeper into the bowl. You must NEVER cut past the centre of the bowl, otherwise you will come into contact with "rising" wood and most likely get a monumental dig-in. However, you can start from the center with the gouge rotated anti-clockwise, pulling it towards you. Try this, again rotating the workpiece BY HAND.

If you over-rotate the gouge, then the trailing edge can get involved, which is usually quite a surprise! Also, remember to watch the shaft of the gouge against the side of the bowl, as this can cause some unexpected and fairly damaging results too!

Once you get the hang of what part of the tool actually does the cutting and realise that the cutting edge needs to be supported (behind the cut) by the bevel - or at least a part of it - you should begin to make progress. I haven't explained this very well, but I hope that it's given you an idea of the way it works. I've found that I understand stuff better if I know why as well as how. If you can get a copy of Kieth Rowley's "Foundation Course" book or video, this will do a far better job of explaining things. :)

Ray.
 

Taffy Turner

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Ray,

I am glad that you explained that - I was still thinking about how best to do it! :D

I am a little confused about Mick's comment about a left-handed gouge though. All of my gouges are ambidextrous. :?
 

Argee

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Taffy,

I've just assumed that Mick's father, being left-handed, ground one wing a bit more than the other perhaps?

That might explain why Mick finds it easier to use, because there is less danger from the trailing edge?

Ray.
 

UKTony

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I'm a little confused here, air traffic control is always in operation in my workshop yet ive never had a problem with a bowl blank or bowl gouge, your problem sounds similar to mine when i first started which involved endgrain and a spindle gouge in the "flying goblet" post.

Mick

The November issue of Woodturning has a five page article on using a Bowl Gouge which may help, if you can't get it locally i will try and get it scanned for you

Tony
 

Duiker

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Hi Guys,

Thanks Ray, that does explain it well. My biggest problem is finding a suitable workshop. I'll check this out tonight and let you know.
I've seen this "bevel" mentioned here and there and was never sure which bevel was being referred to (as in "keep it in contact"). How you have described it makes a lot more sense and I'll check my chisels when I get home.

Taffy, Ray was also right about the LH gouge. My Dad has ground it so that one wing is shallower than the other. This means it cuts well for a while but then doesnt work so well as you get deeper.
 

Taffy Turner

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Tony,

Trust me - it possible to get a catch with a bowl gouge severe enough to rip the bowl from the chuck - particularly if you are using the chuck in expansion mode! :shock:

It has happened to me a couple of times - usually when working with a difficult timber, or especially when trying to undercut the rim of a bowl. Small undercuts are easy, but wait until you try one with a large undercut rim - best to have a word with the Civil Aviation Authority and get them to divert any low flying aircraft!! :D :D :D

The usual cause of a catch with a bowl gouge is allowing the bevel to be unsupported. The other cause is, as Ray has mentioned, when the trailing edge of the tool decides to get involved with the action. This can be avoided to a large degree by grinding the wings of the gouge right back. This is known as a long or Celtic grind (search Google for pictures).

Gary
 

UKTony

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Taffy Turner":29ffgwv2 said:
Tony,

especially when trying to undercut the rim of a bowl. Small undercuts are easy, but wait until you try one with a large undercut rim - best to have a word with the Civil Aviation Authority and get them to divert any low flying aircraft!! :D :D :D

Aha i see now, now this may explain why the grind on my bowl gouge gave the guy in "Woodturning" kittens, must take a closer look at it. I've got one of those shiny RS 200KT's which i assume helps with the undercut although i must say ive been using it more as a shearing tool
 

Duiker

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Hi Guys,

Just replied to PM's. Thanks for your support!

I tried it again today with better results although I still had a flyer (yep, chuck gripping in expansion mode). To stop the missiles I decided to practice on a bit of old timber using one of the many mounting rings the old man had. This helps a lot as I can dig in and it only makes me pee my pants but doesnt add another dnt to the back wall of the workshop. JEEEEZUSSSS, doesnt half get the blood pumping doesnt it! I'll keep going and just practice although I feel instruction may be required here.

Grinding back the wings? Very interesting? That might be a bit easier for me I guess? I'll check it out and see f I can find an old gouge. I might just wait a bit though as I dont want to pipper up a perfectly good tool only to learn the "art" eventually.

Thanks again guys! By the way, I'm about to post some pics of what I have managed to do using the scrapers, honest feedback is welcome.

Groetjes,

Mick
 

UKTony

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Mick

I've just used the Robert Sorby RS200KT on a bowl for the first time, really was quick and easy and the finish was superb, much safer than using a gouge.

Tony

 

trevtheturner

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Mick,

I use the Rolly Munro hollowing tool - much safer and easier than a gouge for under-cutting, and deep hollowing. Expensive bit of kit, but excellent. :wink:

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Taffy Turner

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Trev,

I have been contemplating the purchase of a hollowing system for some time.

I am torn between the Woodcut Perform system (available from Craft Supplies), and the Munro Hollower. Is the Munro avialable from the UK - I can't seem to find anyone who sells it over here.

Have you any thoughts on which system to go for?

Cheers

Gary
PS - the rugby on Saturday was a bit stressfull!!!! :shock:
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Gary,

Stressful? You can say that again..... :wink: But never a doubt about it really....... :roll: :roll:

I have nothing to compare the Munro Hollower with but I am well satisfied with it. I have looked at the Woodcut range (on the web) and the distinct advantage I can see with the Munro is its cutter guard. The cutter can be adjusted from a very aggressive cut (useful for rapid removal of wet wood) through to a very fine cut, but all the time you have the safeguard of the cutter guard preventing any serious or dangerous 'dig-in'. The tool comes complete with three different heads (not cutters), allowing hollowing and cutting around corners and under shoulders. Purchased in the UK it comes complete with spare cutters and the easy to use sharpening jig, too.

Some info. on it is here:
http://www.berger.co.nz/munro.htm

The tool is imported into the UK by, I believe, Brimarc and retailed by The Shed Direct (Leslie Thorne). He has a website, www.thesheddirect.com but the tool is not shown (nor is much else!). I purchased mine from him about 9 months ago - cost £160 for the complete kit. Expensive but, as someone once said, "Once the price is forgotten, the quality remains."

Les. Thorne's address: The Shed, 8 Ladbroke Park, Millers Road, Warwick, CV34 5AE
Telephone: 0845 458 0089
e-mail: leslie.thorne@virgin.net

Of course, if you are up my way at all, you could always give it a try first!
Failing that, if you want more info.,I could copy the manual and send it to you.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Taffy Turner

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Trev,

Thanks very much for the information. I will certainly look into that (probably going to be when I get back from my holiday if I am honest).

I have been dying to have a go at deep hollowing for a while, I guess I will just have to bite the bullet and spend the cash and get stuck in!

Regards,

Gary
 

Duiker

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Now this hollowing tool sounds a bit useful! Its not quite the same as mastering the delicate intracacies of the gouge but if it works it may be worth it for a clumsy great git like me! I'll definately be looking into these! (I wonder if they sell them at Axminsters?) :?:
 

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Cutting Crew

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Hello All,

Proforme for me as well, I tested a whole series of hollowing tools recently for a review to be published on Creative Woodturning, out of all the ones I tested I still preferred the Proforme from Woodcut in New Zealand and that's not just because I sell them.

My main liking for this tool is the "J" shaped cutter very rarely gets blocked and the shavings disappear (at a great rate of knots) beneath the cutter. The Munro tool although cutting very cleanly had the shavings redirected in an upwards motion due to the cup shaped cutter.

Another deep hollowing tool that came out well was the Big Brother series from Hamlet in Sheffield.

Regards....Mike
 

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